Texas A&M University graduate students, Courtney Boykin, Clay Eastwood, and McKensie Harris, presented the initial findings of their research at the National Beef Quality Audit 2016 Strategy Workshop, which was held December 13-15, 2016 at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association offices in Centennial, Colorado. This is the 25th anniversary of the first National Beef Quality Audit, and the strategy workshop is a key component of the audit where representatives from the beef industry, trade associations, and government agencies come together to develop the strategies that will be used to guide the beef production and marketing sectors for the near future. Department of Animal Science faculty members Ashley Arnold, Chris Kerth, Davey Griffin, Dan Hale, and Jeff Savell, principal investigators for the audit, also participated in the workshop.
Boykin led the fed steer and heifer carcass assessment phase, which consisted of obtaining in-plant data from about 9,000 beef carcasses and from camera-gathered data from about 3 million beef carcasses. She presented trends from this year’s audit and compared them to the findings of the most recent audits.
Eastwood presented information from the transportation and harvest-floor assessments for the fed steer and heifer phase of the survey. She also provided overall leadership for the Texas A&M University phase of the audit.
Harris led the market cow and bull phase of the audit, which was combined with the fed steer and heifer audit for the first time. The information she presented included cattle transportation and mobility, hide color and brands, carcass bruising, carcass and offal condemnations, and carcass quality characteristics. The market cow and bull information was sorted into beef and dairy catergories for comparisons purposes.
The strategies will be finalized in early 2017 and will be rolled out with the rest of the audit findings. The next presentation on the National Beef Quality Audit 2016 will be at the Cattlemen’s College at the Cattlemen’s Convention in Nashville, Tennessee in February, 2017. Final rollout of the fed steer and heifer phase of the audit will be at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Summer Meetings in July, 2017, with the rollout of the market cow and bull phase to occur at an industry meeting later in the year.